What is the Relationship Between Exercise and Self Esteem?

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  • Written By: Laura Evans
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
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The relationship between exercise and self esteem can be defined in several ways. Humans produce natural chemicals that resemble opiates after a good workout, resulting in feelings of wellbeing, which can lead to more self-confidence. Today's society also has an ideal body form — thin with well-toned muscles. Regular exercise can lead to weight loss and weight maintenance, moving a person's body closer to society's ideal. For many, self esteem is closely tied to how closely their appearances are to the ideal body form.

When people work out, their bodies produce endorphins, a natural chemical. This chemical, which operates in the body similarly to morphine or codeine, helps relieve pain and stress. Those with less stress in their lives have more energy, can sleep better, and can think more clearly. Typically, people who can lower their stress levels feel better about their lives.

In addition to endorphins, the body can produce serotonin during exercise. Serotonin is mood chemical that is related to depression. The theory is that increased serotonin levels may have a positive impact on people who are experiencing clinical depression. If this theory holds true, exercising may be a much less expensive way of treating depression when compared to buying prescription drugs.


Another example of the relationship between exercise and self esteem is the physical benefits of exercise. People who exercise on a regular basis and eat a low fat diet are likely to lose weight, leading to a thinner, more supple body. In addition, people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

As people age, the relationship between exercise and self esteem continues to be important. People who consistently exercise as they get older have stronger, more flexible bodies. In addition, these exercisers are less likely to have serious health problems that non-exercisers.

One of the diseases that people can develop as they age is osteoporosis, a condition that can cause bones to shrink and break easily. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one in three women and one in five men will get fractured bones due to osteoporosis after reaching the age of 50. In addition, osteoporosis can lead to rounded shoulders and backs, affecting a person’s appearance. Those who understand the relationship between exercise and self esteem know that including weight-bearing exercises in their workout routines can help lower the odds of developing osteoporosis later in life.


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